We all do it, don't we? Whether in class or at work, everybody tends to check their Facebook feed. Increasingly, however, I have begun to find Facebook more of an annoyance than anything. Although this afternoon, I would have welcomed my usual eye-roll at the several inane status updates I am used to reading with a certain tender familiarity. Instead, my eye-roll was substituted for gut-wrenching panic as I read status updates linking news reports that my private messages from 2009 and earlier might have been posted to my public timeline.
After promptly deleting messages from my timeline, I called my girlfriends so they could all do the same. (After all, I tend to send out equally unsuitable private messages in the same frequency as I happen to receive them.)
This supposed privacy breach is troubling on two different fronts. First, the fact that such a "glitch" could even happen is mind-boggling. Nevertheless, reasonableness would lead most people to conclude that we live in a world where cyber-security is limited at best, so occasional platform malfunctions can be somewhat expected from time to time. The second aspect is particularly disconcerting, which is Facebook's denial of the issue, claiming that users are too daft to know the difference between a public wall post and a private message.
Facebook is clearly no stranger to criticism over privacy concerns, as they have established a sketchy precedent when it comes to privacy. Whether being accused of selling users' private data to third-party applications or mapping your location and broadcasting it to people in your network, Facebook users don't seem to trust that their information will be kept confidential.
Despite this, many people, (myself included), visit the site daily, and new users continue to sign up for the service. Which of course, necessitates the question: why? I happen to frequent the site out of habit more than anything, with perhaps some nuanced nostalgia peppered into the mix.
I joined Facebook in my first year of undergrad at McGill University. It was an innovative tool; it was a new and fun way to keep in touch with friends who were away for university, but more importantly, it was actually useful. Facebook started off as something that nearly all college students needed. Yes, I know Jesse Eisenberg famously depicted Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network as stating that Facebook was something all college students wanted, but in this day and age of Facebook uselessness we forget how much easier it made college life in its inception.
In the beginning, you could list the classes you were taking and see who else were in those classes. This meant that if you missed a class because you were sick, wanted to start a study group, or just wanted to see if anybody cute was in your class, you could.
Now, however, Facebook has morphed into a site nearly unrecognizable from the website that helped me find much needed Molecular Biology notes. From constantly being pestered into adding third party applications, to having friend requests from family members over 50, Facebook is as useless as all the user-initiated petitions that attempt to stop Facebook from changing its interface.
Facebook stock officially went on sale on May 18, 2012 at $38 per share. Currently, its stock is at $20.83 per share, which the financial magazine, Barron's, is claiming is still too pricey. Rather, Barron's would have the share priced closer to $15. After the most recent mishap, I doubt anybody will be clamouring to buy it even at that price.
Much like the hot jock that ends up gaining all that weight and moves back home into his parents' basement upon barely graduating from college, Facebook has seen better days. Perhaps Facebook and the once-upon-a-time hot jock can both take solace in knowing that they were both formerly big men on campus.
Follow Supriya Dwivedi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/supriyadwivedi